I’ve had laptops with linux before, but linux was never the original laptop OS and modifying the configuration was always necessary. It used to be fun to hack and modify an OS on an old laptop but I guess if I’m going to spend 600 or 700 bucks (or more!) I’d rather not have to worry about modifications.

One of my worries is that in the past I’ve experienced bad or terrible changes to battery life/performance after installing linux. I’m guessing that that won’t be the case with a linux native laptop? Any experience… (dell, system76,…)? I remember trying to fix this in various ways that the internet had suggested but it never came out as I wanted.

My other worry is the keyboard and shortcuts. I’ve been using a mac at work which in my experience has a fairly different keyboard short cuts, is that still the case? (is this distro dependent?) I remember always having to modify cut and paste for terminals to match the browser’s cut and paste short cuts in ubuntu. This always seemed silly. Again not sure if I want to do this if I’m shelling out a significant amount of money.

Any advice or stories about going from a mac-unix-ish setup to a pure linux setup?

Should I stop trying and stick with macs?

@early_adapter
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71Y

Buy an old Thinkpad that’s been refurbished. Something like an x250. It’ll cost you less than $200. Pick your favourite Linux distro and install it. Everything will just work. You can configure keyboard settings and shortcuts as you wish.

Battery performance will be fine but you can replace the battery if needed. Other parts are also user replacable. The one I’m typing this on has a 2TB SSD and 16GB RAM that I put in. You can also replace the keyboard if needed.

I have five of them. They’re real workhorses.

sluggo007
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1
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10M

You can say the same for Dell Latitude laptops. Being retired, I buy recent off-lease Dell Latitude laptops and wipe Windows off of them and put Linux (specifically KUbuntu 20.04) in my latest case. Late last month, I bought a Latitude 5480, i5 quad-core, 8Gb of ram, 500Gb spinning rust drive with Windows 10 from the Dellfinancialservices offlease sales site. The original price was $545, but I found a coupon that brought that price down by nearly $200. The 500Gb spinning rust drive was retired, and a 500Gb SSD, with Kubuntu 20.04 already installed/configured to my liking was installed. Will be pulling the one 8Gb DDR4 stick and replacing it with 2 16Gb sticks. Need the ram as I run quite a few other distros as KVM vms… Bottom line: EVERYTHING worked right the first time I booted it up under Linux.

vendion
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31Y

Even if they go with a new Thinkpad Lenovo (if you trust them) is working towards offering Thinkpads with your choice of either Ubuntu, RHEL, or Fedora preinstalled as well as upstreaming any driver modifications to the Linux kernel which is great if you ever need to reinstall the OS or decide to install a different distro on the machine 1.

I have a P50 myself and love it, even though it’s a few years old now it is still running strong. Other than that I have a couple of friends that purchased a Dell that came with Ubuntu preinstalled and they seem like great machines. Due to their bulk I’m usually hesitant to recommend System76 machines unless you know what you are getting into.

@millibeep
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21Y

Do you have somewhere you recommend to source parts like the SSD and RAM?

@early_adapter
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11Y

In which country are you?

@dijit
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51Y

All things with a grain of salt; because linux support on laptops is often as good as you make it.

I can say what has worked for me though.

I have had thinkpads (t400, x200, x201, x201s) and they all worked flawlessly with linux.

I currently own a Dell Precision 5520; and it works flawlessly too. But I primarily use the intel graphics chip and force the nvidia one off for better battery life.

The Dell Latitude series are astonishingly good at supporting linux.

Obviously anything by System76 is going to work, but build quality is meh.

I guess we should just talk about devices which might not work so well rather than what does work well because linux really does support /most/ things.

So, what is Linux bad at:

  1. Proprietary/special touch screens. I have a GPD P2 Max, and I need a special kernel patch for touch screen

  2. Mixing DPI’s. So if you have a 4k laptop screen and a 1080p external monitor it’s going to look weird. (probably)

  3. Nvidia. Yeah, it works, but it’s battery hungry, optimus (dynamically switching from intel/nvidia) is a pain, the driver might break randomly, just avoid it if you can.

  4. “Atheros” wifi- should work, doesn’t work well. So look for Intel wifi where you can.

  5. Prorietary fingerprint readers. You wont know this until you get it probably.

  6. Windows Hello/IR camera.- The camera will work, but it will not support facial recognition as you expect.

  7. Networking over thunderbolt. You probably don’t do this, but I did under macos to link my macbook pro to my mac pro- anyway, doesn’t really work.

@zaggynl
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31Y

Get a second hand business laptop (dell latitude, lenovo thinkpad, hp elitebook), replace battery where needed, install linux yourself. If needed you can pop by the seller with a USB drive with Ubuntu or suchlike to quickly test compatibility. Business laptop because of decent parts and guaranteed to be self serviceable.

As for power saving, I saw this pop by a while ago: https://medium.com/@amanusk/an-extensive-guide-to-optimizing-a-linux-laptop-for-battery-life-and-performance-27a7d853856c

@partion
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31Y

I wouldn’t care at all about Linux being preinstalled - just about every laptop will run fine with Linux, the “comes with Linux preinstalled” part sounds like cheap marketing, as most Linux users (such as yourself) would have no problems installing the OS on their own. Claims of improved support sounds dubious as well. As for the laptop, what kind of workflow are you looking at? Personally, I’d wait for new Thinkpad T400 series with AMD Zen 2 CPUs to come out (I expect this to happen around this autumn) as they have superior performance and power savings. Also, having AMD means better Linux support.

@Looki
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11Y

On many convertibles the drivers of the fingerprint scanner and the 2in1 detection won’t work on Linux. If you buy one of those with linux preinstalled you can be sure that these features will work

@fruechtchen
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3
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1Y

If you have enough money to buy a completely new laptop, i’d suggest https://mntre.com/media/reform_md/2020-05-08-the-much-more-personal-computer.html - because the repairabillity is probably much better.

See this rant from drew devault on this topic: https://drewdevault.com/rants/2020/02/18/Fucking-laptops.html - i think the reform is one of the few exceptions.

Pinebook pro could also work, but the repairability is not that good. also, the wlan chip is soldered on the mainboard, making it impossible to use a free-software driver.

Being a ARM laptop (both the reform and the pinebook), you don’t have to worry about the intel management engine.

If you’d buy rather cheap, i’d suggest to get for instance an used thinkpad T400/X220 or something from ebay. But these are intel CPUs so you will have intel management engine.

Also: i once buyed an used dell laptop (XPS 13) from ebay. It stopped working for unknown reasons after some time, so i woudn’t recommend that.

@jaidedctrl
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31Y

can confirm, System76 is pretty good.

but if you want a machine that’ll work with fully free distros (and thus basically everything, even obscure OSes), i’d highly recommend ThinkPenguin. their stuff works perfectly, outta the box, and they’re support is awesome.

@hburb3ri
link
31Y

What you interact with is only a very small portion of the OS. In Mac’s case, they use a desktop manager called Aqua, and that’s what you used to draw windows, do keybinds, handle audio, all that fun stuff. Linux has that as well, but Linux is all about choice.

There are many different DEs (Desktop Environments) and it gets a bit addicting installing and trying them out. There’s even more window managers, which is like the DE, but is purely just how you navigate windows, and not extra stuff like keybinds, menus, launching programs, etc. You’re going to probably use Gnome by default since that’s what most use, but I recommend trying out other popular ones like KDE, Mate, or XFCE.

Since most people judge operating systems with what they interact with, trying out different desktop environments will make Linux feel drastically different, almost like an entirely different operating system. They will be all in your distro’s package manager and are all very popular. Under the hood, everything runs the same, but your experience with the computer will be entirely determined by the desktop environment, so you should test them out till you find one you like the most.

@ajz
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3
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1Y

Regarding copy & paste : Since years I almost only use the mouse to copy & paste in Linux. Double click on the text, then use the middle mouse button (or wheel) to paste. So fast and so nice. I find using control-v and control-c cumbersome compared to that.

@ksynwa
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31Y

only problem with that is sometimes so field autoselect and override your primary clipboard. at least the secondary clipboard is available as a backup so it isn’t too bad. but you are right that it is very convenient.

Makkusu
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4
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1Y

deleted by creator

@slackline
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21Y

Better still the buffer/ring in which the mouse highlighted text is stored is for the most part separate from that of Ctrl-c buffer/ring so you can have two things to paste.

@mako
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31Y

You can customize keyboard shortcuts with most linux ditros (and also Ubuntu that ship with Dell, or Pop!_OS which is a spin off of Ubuntu and ships with System76). I’d be more concerned about the applications that I may or may not be able to install. So now coming to the hardware part. Battery performance is marginally better because the kernels are usually modified to suit the open hardware better. I’ve used the Dell XPS 13 for a few days and it works really well IMO. It even lasts as long as a MacBook Pro on a single battery charge with similar usage. I haven’t personally used System76 machines but I’ve heard some really good things about them, and are comparable to the Dell from what my colleagues told me. I use only Linux distros on my HP laptop that came with Win10 and I’ve not had any major problems. The only issue i had was long back when the Wifi driver for the RTL8723 was misconfigured so I had to do it manually. Other than that even if you choose to install it on your older laptop, you won’t need to do any sort of hacks on the hardware or software. My advice: get a laptop, try it out for yourself and see how you adjust before making the leap and spending nearly $1K for a well configured Dell or maybe more for a System76.

@ProfessorYakkington
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21Y

For what it is worth, I have a purism 15 inch. For the most part I really like the laptop. The near 0 branding is great and I have 32 gigs of ram which is great as I do a lot of data intensive dev work. However; the hinge broke on the laptop within 6 months of light use which was extremely disappointing. I was able to repair the hinge with a good amount of effort but I probably wont buy another if this one dies. Obviously just a single exp. so take it with a grain of salt. On the good side, the hardware switches are great and the already mentioned ram is nice.

@EmbarrassedActive4
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21Y

Nowadays linux is a lot easier to use, get any laptop. I use a dell which wasn’t marked for linux but works fine anyway. Battery life can be fixed by installing “tlp” and running sudo tlp start. You can also configure the keyboard shortcuts in the settings. The terminal uses ctrl+shift+c instead of ctrl+c and so on.

art
link
21Y

I don’t recommend buying pre-installed laptops. Instead, buy business class hardware. Get them used or refurbished. You’ll save a ton of money and they’ll be just as powerfull if you get a model only about 3 years behind. Most business laptops have damn good Linux support out of the box.

  • Lenovo Thinkpad
  • Dell Latitude
  • HP Elitebook

As for keyboard shortcuts, it’s Linux, you can customize anything.

@Aeolun
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21Y

You can, but that doesn’t mean it’s either easy or pleasant.

@EmbarrassedActive4
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21Y

coincidence?? Not telling you to buy it or suggesting it, but https://imgur.com/a/LK6vuT9

@SirLotsaLocks
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21Y

I don’t have much experience in buying but system76 has really good build quality and a great os if at a higher than usual price. Lenovo recently made a lot of their laptops buyable with linux built in and as you seem to already know dell has too. Overall linux only manufacturers are usually more expensive due to shipping less than a company like dell but they have better support as far as I know and they are nicer to interact with.

@ProfessorYakkington
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1
edit-2
1Y

I’ve not owned one of these before ( https://starlabs.systems/pages/lite-mk-iii ) but it looks interesting in terms of a new laptop that is linux native and a bit cheaper ($426/£399) than a lot of purism / system 76 options. The build quality looks nice, but it is hard to judge from screen shots. Here is an OMGubuntu write up on the device. https://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2020/07/starlabs-lite-mk-iii-linux-laptop. Also, for work I have a developer edition xps 13 with linux and it is great.

@Wheeljack
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11Y

If I had the coin, I’d spring for one of the developer editions of the Dell XPS 13 or XPS 15.

Keyboard shortcuts are of course modifiable, but default to more Windows-like bindings.

What exactly are you trying to get away from with Mac?

@Micalet
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1
edit-2
1Y

Deepin, future UOS, is the closest to MacOS you will find. But any DE can be configured a lot to match your needs. Lenovo is great in price / performance. System76 are good but expensive, slimbook, purism, and tuxedo are brands to watch before deciding and Dell have some liGnux love too.

@developred
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6
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8M

deleted by creator

@tron
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4
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5M

deleted by creator

Makkusu
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3
edit-2
1Y

deleted by creator

@constantinople
banned
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1
edit-2
1Y

deleted by creator

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Linux is a family of open source Unix-like operating systems based on the Linux kernel, an operating system kernel first released on September 17, 1991 by Linus Torvalds. Linux is typically packaged in a Linux distribution (or distro for short).

Distributions include the Linux kernel and supporting system software and libraries, many of which are provided by the GNU Project. Many Linux distributions use the word “Linux” in their name, but the Free Software Foundation uses the name GNU/Linux to emphasize the importance of GNU software, causing some controversy.

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